Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Remedial Canning

For years, my friends have asked me to teach them to can. This will not be that lesson. What happened earlier this week is perhaps a better lesson in "how not to can".

We were blessed to have been given a large quantity of apples. Sweet, small, apples. I have run out of my world-famous and extremely convenient homemade canned apple pie filling, so what could be better? I'll just throw on my apron and whip up a batch after work! This fits in perfectly with my "Miss Mary Homemaker" persona and my budding frugality. Uh-huh.

I have always said that the keys to canning anything are organization, cleanliness, and preparedness. Fortunately, the kitchen was clean. Hey, one out of three is good...right?

Wrong. Turns out, for canning, you need things. Things like jars. Jars that I sold when we left Omaha. The recipe makes 6 quarts. Oh, for goodness sake, I had 3 empties in the cupboard. What follows is frantic scrambling through the apartment and emptying of my cute button collection. Crisis averted.

Next, I assembled the ingredients. Blessedly, I had everything on hand. So I began cooking the syrup. Mmmm. Syrup.

Then, I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples. Now, I would like to point out that I will never ever can apples without this device. It's the best invention ever. It does all the work. But it does spatter sticky stuff all over the counter (and the wall if you are too close). Don't can if you can't handle stickiness.
What follows is my "I-will-never-be-Martha" confession. In my wild discarding of all non-essential items before the move to Minot. I purged the screw on caps for my canning jars. Don't ask me why. Of course, by the time I realized this, the jars were full and waiting to be capped. Brilliant. The only caps I could find were some nasty, rusty ones that Martha Stewart would never have in her home. I am ashamed to own them.

But...through all the crises and hair-pulling and maniacal laughter (thank goodness I was home alone!)...I remember how much I enjoy the process of canning.

And the beauty of enjoying the fruits of my labors.

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